Monday, October 11, 2021

Birdtober Day Eleven: Dickcissel



Today's bird is the Dickcissel. My poem traces its yearly schedule. You can see my sources at the end of the post.

 Photo Source:


The Year of the Dickcissels

In the spring and summer,
Dickcissels spread out
over thousands of miles
making their flatulent
Dickcissel sounds
and eating bugs.

But in the winter,
almost all the Dickcissels
go to one region of Venezuela.
Now instead of bugs
they chow down on grain,
ruining the crops
and sending the farmers out into their fields
with bottle rockets and pesticides,
banging pots and pans to chase the birds away.

All the future eggs of
all those Dickcissels
are in one basket.
In flocks a million strong
they risk it all.

And then,
they head back north to breed,
meeting up with the few
less adventurous Dickcissels
who spent the winter
at bird feeders
with the House Sparrows.

Who knows?
Maybe one year
they won’t come back at all.


©Ruth Bowen Hersey 

Sources: Dickcissel, Audubon Field Guide; Dickcissel, Missouri Department of Conservation; Dickcissel, American Bird Conservancy; Dickcissel, WikipediaDickcissels in Venezuela, Sutton Center

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